Federal Work-Study FAQ

Student working on Mac computer
Federal Work Study is a great opportunity for students who qualify and we can help you understand the details.

1. How do I get Federal Work-Study?

Federal Work-Study (FWS) is an employment program for some, but not all, financial aid recipients. To apply for Federal Work-Study, or to confirm your award, contact the Financial Aid Office. If you see a Federal Work-Study award in your financial aid package, you must accept the award in order to begin working.

2. Who is eligible?

Students who are awarded Federal Work-Study are part- or full-time (at least six credits) students, U.S. citizens or permanent residents who qualify for federal financial aid based on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and other financial aid application information. Generally, international or foreign students do not qualify for the Federal Work-Study program.

3. What types of FWS jobs are available?

Positions are available both on and off campus and encompass a wide variety of skills and interests. Jobs include lab positions, administrative support, Web design, tutoring and much more!

4. How do I find an FWS job?

Once you confirm your Federal Work-Study award, you may begin applying to Federal Work-Study jobs that are listed on Handshake, the Career Center’s job database. If you would like to work in a specific department that does not have a position posted, you can contact the department directly and offer your services as a Federal Work-Study student.

5. Will I definitely find a FWS job?

At the beginning of the academic year there are more FWS jobs available than students seeking these jobs. If you start your search early in the semester, you should have many jobs from which to choose. As the academic year progresses, employers fill their jobs and you will have fewer choices.

6. May I work more than one job?

You may work more than one job. However, you may not work more than 20 total hours per week and you may not earn more than your FWS award.

7. Is FWS credited toward my tuition and other university charges?

FWS is not credited toward your tuition or other university charges. FWS is paid in the form of a bi-weekly paycheck to you based on the number of hours worked and the rate of pay. Most students use their FWS earnings for personal expenses, books, and travel.

8. What is the rate of pay and how many hours may I work?

Students who are paid under FWS may earn minimum wage or more. The rate of pay is determined by the individual employer. Per university policy, students may work no more than 20 total hours per week during periods of enrollment. The maximum number of hours during the academic year that you can work will vary based on your rate of pay and award amount for the year.

It is the responsibility of you and your employer to monitor your earnings so that you do not earn more than your FWS award.

9. Am I eligible for pay increases?

Yes. Your supervisor can determine when you are eligible for a pay increase, and raises generally are based on your length of employment, exceptional performance or a change in job duties.

10. Can my FWS award change during the academic year?

Yes. Occasionally the Financial Aid Office will need to revise the amount of your award based on changes in financial situation or receipt of additional financial resources, such as outside scholarships. You will obtain a letter indicating the changes. It is your responsibility to notify your employer of any changes to your FWS award.

11. Can I get more FWS when it runs out?

The availability of additional funds varies from year to year depending on demand and individual student need. Once you know that your FWS is running out, contact the Financial Aid Office to see if you can receive additional FWS funds.

12. Do I automatically get Federal Work-Study every year?

No. FWS awards are not guaranteed every year. To reapply, you must file a FAFSA by January 17 each year indicating that you want Federal Work-Study.

13. What if I have a job off campus or I do not want to work while going to school?

A work-study award is an option to work, not a requirement. If a student chooses not to work, he/she should decline the Federal Work-Study award on the Towson Online Services account.

14. What if I am not awarded Federal Work-Study?

If you do not see a Federal Work-Study Award in your financial aid package, you may contact the Financial Aid Office to be added to the waiting list. Funding levels vary each year, and being placed on the waiting list does not guarantee you will receive an award. The Financial Aid Office will notify you if you are eligible. You can still seek Regular Student Employment positions on campus which do not require FWS funding.

15. How do I know how much Federal Work-Study I have left?

It is the responsibility of the student and the supervisor to monitor your hours to keep track of your Federal Work Study award. If you do not know how much you have earned, please contact the Financial Aid Office to find out.

16. Whom should I contact if I have additional questions?

If you have questions about your FWS award, contact the Financial Aid Office.

If you have any questions about finding student employment, please contact the Career Center.